Fueling for a long run

27 09 2009

So, I’m doing experiments right now with different types of fuel for before and during my long runs.  I was thinking to myself this morning that since I have been trying different products, it would be a god idea to share with you guys what I have tried, what I think about those products, and how they effect me during my runs.

I only take gel’s, gumies, or beans etc. (no “real” food) when I’m on my long runs, as I’ve discovered that I don’t need to refuel until I’ve hit the 55-60 minute mark.  Like I mentioned before, I have insulin resistance/type 2 diabetes, and need to make sure that I keep my blood sugar up and stay hydrated while on my runs.

So, in my water I always drop 1 Nuun tablet to help me stay hydrated.  Nuun is “a complex electrolyte drink that recharges your salts, but is refreshing and more efficiently absorbed than water alone or most sports drinks on the market.” (source)  I can really tell the difference in how I feel if I haven’t had my electrolytes in my water during a run.  I always feel a lot more refreshed afterwards.

Because I’ve had a few issues with dehydration on previous runs, I always bring my water bottle with me for any distance longer than 4 miles.  I have tried several different types of hydration systems, and by far this is my favorite and I couldn’t be happier with this product!!

Nathan Thermal Quick Draw Hydration System

Nathan Thermal Quick Draw Hydration System

On my past few long runs, I’ve taken two packets of Clif Shot Gel to keep me fueled through my runs.

My favorite flavor is Chocolate!  Nom, Nom, Nom!

My favorite flavor is Chocolate! Nom, Nom, Nom!

But, my only problem with these (and other gel’s), is that they are really hard to open and eat while running, and I end up getting it all over my hands and making a complete mess.  Or, I have to stop to eat it (which sometimes isn’t always a bad thing).  Has anyone else had this problem, or am I just a complete klutz? I also noticed that I was starving within about 10 minutes of eating one of these…when you have 5+ miles to go, that’s no bueno.

So, on Friday I went to REI to try some new fuel and hopefully find something that would work better for me.  I asked one of the guys that was working if he had tried the different types of gels, bloks, beans, etc and if he had any recommendations.  He recomended a few different things to me, but was all about this stuff….(like jumping up and down excited about how well it works.)

HEED = Bleh!!!

HEED = Bleh!!!

I purchased one single serving packet so I could try it instead of committing to a big ole container, and I am so glad that I did.  This stuff was TERRIBLE!!  Blehhhhhhh!!  It tasted like a cream sicle, which taste good when you’re eating ice cream…not drinking an electrolyte replacement drink.  It gave me a really upset stomach (I had to stop 4 times in my first 5 miles due to stomach issues), and I think actually dehydrated me a bit.  I couldn’t stomach the stuff and actually had to find a water fountain on our route so I could pour it out and put regular water in my bottle.  I will NEVER buy this stuff again.  Nasty!

The other product that I decided to try were GU Chomps.

See my container of Nuun in the background?

See my container of Nuun in the background?

The flavor that I got was cranberry/apple.  Eight chews come in one pack for a total of 180 calories, and I have to say that these things were good!  They did exactly what I needed them to do, and fit perfectly into the little zip up pouch on my water bottle holder.  They were easy to pop out of the package and into my mouth and didn’t make a mess at all.  Better yet, there wasn’t the weird Gu-like texture.  I will be buying these again!

So, all together….here’s what I took with me on my run:

Long run necessities

Long run necessities

The banana was actually part of my pre-run snack that I ate about 30 minutes before we headed out.



I had a sandwich thin with 1/2 of a banana and 1 tbsp of almond butter!  Perfect pre-run fuel, if you ask me!

My run went really well dispite the stomach issues that I was having, and the fact that the HEED made me want to vom!

I’ll share my experiences on my 15 miler with you guy in my next post. 🙂


What different types of electroite replacement drinks/chews/gel’s have you tried?  Which ones were you favorites, and which ones did you dislike the most?  I’m still on the hunt to try new products.

Have a great Sunday!!!

Dayna 🙂




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